Do you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep?
Most sleep problems start in your brain! I’m not telling you that your insomnia is “all in your head” but sleep is a brain function. Functional medicine might have the solution you have been looking for.
Let’s see if your brain is keeping you from a good night’s sleep!
Hormone imbalance is a major cause of insomnia. In particular, low progesterone or high estrogen. Progesterone has a calming effect on the brain and it helps a very important brain chemical work better. This brain chemical is called GABA. GABA is what many anxiety medications and sleep aids support. GABA allows our brain to “shut down” and sleep soundly. It is very common for women in their thirties to start seeing fluctuations and an overall decline in progesterone production. By the time you reach menopause your progesterone can decline approximately 40-60%!
You have probably heard of histamine, or antihistamines. Do you or someone you know take antihistamines like Benadryl for sleep? If you are eating foods that are high in histamine or trigger the release of histamine in your brain, then can will have problems sleeping. Histamine causes the brain to “wake-up” and this is exactly what you don’t want that happening when you are trying to fall asleep! You may also have gut health problems that make it difficult for you to neutralize histamine in your body and cause histamine to build up in your system. Histamine problems are a very common problem and it is also related to hormone balance. If your progesterone is dropping, then you may have a relative excess of estrogen; this can make your histamine problems worse.
Another common cause of insomnia is poor adrenal gland function. Your adrenal glands are your “stress glands” and they help your body and brain deal with all kinds of stress. So how can they cause insomnia?
Lets say you eat dinner at 6pm and eat nothing else before going to bed. You go to bed at 10pm and you are able to fall asleep. You find then find yourself waking up around 1-3am in the morning. A common cause for this is that your blood sugar has dropped too low. You have not eaten anything for 7-9+ hours and your brain is low on blood sugar (called glucose) so it tells your adrenal glands to raise your blood sugar. Your adrenal glands increase your blood sugar by releasing cortisol and adrenaline into your blood stream.
Do you think you will sleep well if your brain is stressed due to lack of blood sugar and your stress glands are pumping stress hormones and chemical like adrenaline into your body?
Ideally you would have your blood sugar, insulin and adrenal glands tested by a function medicine doctor who understands this insomnia and adrenal gland connection.
Try this at home…
For now you might try a little experiment and have a small snack about 1 hour before bed that is high in protein and fat and see if you sleep better. This can help you maintain blood sugar while you sleep and prevent your brain from sounding the alarm to you adrenal glands.
There are other reasons you may be suffering with insomnia and there are other natural solutions for insomnia. To find the root cause of your insomnia you should consult a functional medicine doctor.
If you are suffering with insomnia, contact our office today for a free consultation with our functional medicine consultant.
I wish you health, happiness and a better quality of life!
If you would like more information about functional medicine and integrative medicine or Dr. Sexton go to www.napervilleintegratedwellness.com
Do your own research, inform yourself and ask lots of questions. When collecting information, you MUST consider the source. There is no shortage of false, misleading, outdated, profit-driven and utterly biased information in healthcare today; even from the most respected sources and organizations.
This approach to healthcare is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate, or prevent any disease. Why? The FDA enforces its position that these words can only be used with drugs. This approach does not use drugs.